Christmas is right around the corner. For many people, it is just as Andy Williams used to sing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Anticipation is building for many children as they contemplate what good things might be in the presents they will unwrap on Christmas day.
I know this to be true as I had the same sense of anticipation and excitement when I was a child growing up. Although my family was as “poor as church nice,” my parents worked hard to ensure my brothers and I had a good Christmas. They also did their best to make sure we knew that Christmas was not just about Santa Claus (though we did enjoy celebrating the jolly old elf), but rather it was about the birth of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
We made it a practice to not only go to our church but to other churches for special Christmas programs where we would sing carols, the children would do skits, and the Christmas story in Luke would be read. Another special treat was each church would give everyone in attendance a small paper sack with a few pieces of hard candy and an apple or orange inside. We children really enjoyed that tradition!
It was also a real treat to go to the houses of my two sets of grandparents and enjoy the festivities with my cousins, uncles and aunts, and other relatives. What fond and precious memories.
However, many children and families do not share in the happiness, the joy, and the hope that Christmas is meant to bring. For many, it is a time of disappointment, despair, and disillusionment.
If you read The Messenger, the quarterly newsletter of Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, or check out the website, you will find a Christmas needs list. MBCH wants to do its best to give the children in care a good Christmas, just as my parents did, so they will have a fond memory in years to come. And, we appreciate so much those individuals, churches, and other groups who will share of their resources to help us make it so. But I also want to share with you that for too many of our children all they want is what we take for granted.
I read an article that contained information on a question that was asked of foster children on what they wanted. A large number responded they wanted a family. I remember a few years ago when we had younger children on the Lowe-Frillman Campus in Bridgeton that during our weekly chapel services with staff and children when we asked for prayer requests, one young boy always said, “Pray for me a family.”
The article went on to state that when asked what foster children wanted in that family the following responses were given (these are unedited and as stated by the foster child):
A house with running water and lights
Mom and dad don’t fight
Don’t kill my pets
Let me keep my games
Don’t get drunk
Help with school
No lice; no bugs in house
Clean bed with covers
Coat and toothbrush
I want love
These are things that the vast majority of us take for granted, but are nonexistent for far too many children.
We must take seriously the admonition in James 1:27 to care for the orphan and the widow. We must remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 that when we serve the least of these, we serve Him.
For over 135 years, Missouri Baptist Children’s Home has been providing hope, healing, and restoration as we accomplish our mission statement: Serving God by responding to the needs of children, youth, and families to make a lasting difference in their lives.
This is not possible without the prayers and financial support of individuals, churches, the Missouri Baptist Convention through the Cooperative Program and the Missouri Missions Offering, and other groups.
Together we are making a difference and together we are helping to not only meet the basic needs of those in our care, but also helping to provide hope, healing, and restoration, as well as fond memories for years to come.
I would invite you to contact us to learn how you might become even more involved in helping to make those memories. Your involvement might even be as an employee or a foster parent.
Visit our website or call us at 1-800-264-6224 for information on ways in which you can become involved and help create a special memory for a child.
May you and yours have a most blessed Christmas and holiday season because of Him who came and gave Himself for us.
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